It was six months ago that 150 Charleston-area leaders spent a couple hours moving colored blocks to show where they wanted new houses and jobs for the 256,000 new people expected to move here over the next 30 years.
It was called Reality Check, an exercise organized by the South Carolina Urban Land Institute. It was hailed as a breakthrough in regional planning. Now organizers are working to keep the momentum going.
"We've cast the pebble in the pond," architect Thomas Hund, incoming chairman for the Land Institute's coastal region, said Wednesday. "We've got some ripples."
Hund and attorney Andrew Gowder, the institute's regional vice chairman, gave a progress report at a Charleston Metro Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the North Charleston Convention Center.
The Berkeley-Charleston-Dorchester Council of Governments is making three-dimensional maps of the various scenarios outlined during Reality Check for further study. COG also will hold town meetings.
The conversations have led to policy changes in other states, Hund said. He cited the 2 percent policy that the Southern California Association of Governments adopted. The policy involves funneling federal money to jurisdictions that confine growth to the 2 percent of the land around key transportation nodes.
Almost all of those who took part in the local Reality Check agreed that growth should be clustered near existing transportation arteries. But that doesn't solve all the transportation problems, Hund pointed out. For example, there's broad support for a train between Charleston and Summerville, but nobody can say where the money would come from to build it, so nothing is on the table.
"The conversation is at this level (pointing above his head)," Hund said. "Actually getting it done is at this level (pointing to his feet)."